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Top tips for relocating with your pet in the winter

Summer embargoes when most airlines do not fly pets because of high temperatures are common. Similarly, extremely low temperatures are also not ideal when you are travelling with your pet dog or cat. A dog or a cat travelling in the winter has its own set of challenges, and there are several precautions you can take to make the flight comfortable for your pet.

Choose a pet-friendly airline

Arrival into countries that experience extreme weather during winter is not possible. Airlines flying to countries such as Canada and United States of America generally do not fly pets during the cold winter months. Though the cargo hold that your pet will travel in is climate controlled, he or she will be exposed to extreme temperatures during layovers and while waiting to board or after disembarking. When pets are exposed to cold temperatures for extended periods, they can develop hypothermia and frostbite. Prolonged exposure to the cold hampers the pet’s ability to regulate body temperature which could lead to difficulty in breathing and other health issues.

A pet-friendly airline will make sure your pet is boarded and disembarked on priority, and limit their exposure to the elements. Most airlines have a cold weather embargo and will not allow pets to board when the temperature on the tarmac falls below 7 °C in the arrival or the departure destinations. These severe weather embargoes are very important and are in place for the safety and comfort of your pet.

Some breeds such as Huskies, Malamutes, Persians and Samoyeds are naturally endowed with thick undercoats that allow them to withstand cold temperatures. Certain airlines allow such breeds to board if you furnish an Acclimatisation Certificate from the vet that certifies that the breed is accustomed to cold temperatures. However, if the temperature falls below -6 °C, pets will not be allowed to board even with the Acclimatisation Certificate.

Short-haired breeds such as Chihuahuas, Beagles, Oriental Shorthair cats, etc. are especially vulnerable to low temperatures, and it is essential to ensure these breeds are comfortable while relocating during winter.

If you are unsure of which airline is pet-friendly, reach out to us at Petraveller to guide you through your pet’s relocation.

Schedule flights wisely

Scheduling your pet’s trip with care can avoid most of the problems that come with cold weather relocation. Make sure the flight is in the middle of the day when the temperatures are most comfortable; avoid late evening and early morning flights when the temperatures are at their lowest. It might be a good idea to compare weather forecasts for the days preceding the trip to come up with the best time to schedule the flight.

Try to schedule the shortest flight possible, with the least number of stops and layovers. If there are no direct flights to your destination, ensure that the airport has climate-controlled transit areas for your pet during the layover.

Scheduling the best itinerary for your pet is challenging, especially if you have never done it before. Contact a pet relocation service to help you with the safest travel times for your beloved pet.

The right crate and crate training

Your pet dog or cat will have to travel in an IATA-compliant pet travel crate that is big enough for them to stand, turn around and lay down comfortably. Make sure you bring the crate a few weeks ahead of your departure date and crate train your dog or cat till they are comfortable in the crate.

The crate has to be spacious and well-ventilated. Line the crate with absorbent puppy pads and a warm blanket to keep your pet comfortable. Dogs and cats are not allowed to wear jackets or any other accessories during the flight because they are considered a choking hazard. The blanket will keep your pet warm and cosy during the flight.


Hydration during the winter is as important as it is while flying with your pet in the summer. Remember to keep your pet dog or cat well-hydrated for a few days before the flight. Travel crates must have bowls attached to the door for water for your pet during the flight. During crate training, make sure your pet learns how to drink from the bowl or bottle attached to the door.

Exercise your dog well on the day of the flight and feed your pet dog or cat not later than six hours before the flight.

Call the experts

It is recommended to seek the advice of experts before embarking on a long journey with your pets, especially during extreme weather periods. Don’t forget to visit the vet and ensure your pet dog or cat is healthy enough to travel.

Relocating with a pet during the cold winter months requires scheduling expertise and lots of forward planning. There are chances of your flight schedule and your pet’s schedule not matching; and the cold weather embargo can result in sudden, last-minute cancellation and rescheduling. An experienced pet relocation company is best placed to help with your pet’s travel plans. If you are planning on travelling to a different country with your pet this winter, contact us at Petraveller for a comprehensive itinerary.